The main reason we created CET was to provide information based on scientific research to the lay public as well as the professional clinician. Information about the rhythms of our body and brain and their adjustment to the rhythms of the solar day and year … Why we sleep … The importance of light for health. Our field of research is called Chronobiology. Our focus — as the name Center for Environmental Therapeutics implies — is on harnessing available chronotherapeutic tools that are around us. These include light, darkness, air quality, and the correct timing of sleep and wake, meals, and exercise for optimal health and performance. Many of these novel environmental treatments can be, and indeed are, combined with medication, as the individual requires. We hope that clinicians will learn more about non-pharmacological options for their patients: these are less promoted than drugs and require a bit more effort. However, the positive results, the lack of side effects, and being in charge of one’s own treatment is a psychological advantage many patients appreciate. Often times, superior results are the clincher.
Misalignment between inner and outer clocks
One of the key concepts in chronobiology and its application to health problems is misalignment. Mood disorders are clearly linked to abnormal clocks. In our 24/7 society, a high percentage of people work shifts, and jet-lag was a pervasive side-effect of transcontinental travel (before COVID-19 slowed us up). Many individuals with early or late biological clocks (“larks” and “owls”) have difficulties in fitting into standardized school or work times. It is of significant topical interest that during the COVID-19 shut-down a great many people slept longer (nearly an hour!), and at their own individual preferred times, thus more nearly approaching what we would call healthy sleep-wake cycles.
Misalignment can be reduced by “natural” treatments, such as carefully timed light (outdoor or with light boxes) or modifying sleep behavior. When we use the word “natural” we do not mean arcane, esoteric, or trendy treatments that have no scientific basis. We demand firm evidence-based medicine to underly the educational tools we present.
The CET website has information and practical applications throughout its pages: Just put your key words the search bar and many articles will pop up.
Here are some specific links:
- A treasure-trove of information in our Ask Our Experts feature, which covers hundreds of questions about environmental therapeutics from patients, self-treaters, curious visitors, and even doctors. If your question has not been answered, you can ask it here.
- Specialty topics that bring new research into focus, such as our new features: Life Across Latitudes, Teen Sleep: Too late, too little, or both?, and When should I take my Blood Pressure Medication?
- Separate lists of recommended books for the public and professionals,
Additionally, for professionals, we offer the following resources:
- CET’s Clinical Assessment Tool Collection, featuring our structured interviews for diagnosis and severity of depressive disorders, and validated self-report instruments.
- Video lectures on the science and practice chronotherapy, by a group of leading colleagues.
- An organized collection of key literature on the science of circadian rhythms and chronotherapy, with downloadable references.